• W - Wedded

    W is for Wedded

    #AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

    Several years ago my daughter gave me a small book called Wait For Me: The Irritations and Consolations of a Long Marriage, by Judith Viorst.  She received it as a gift from Ms. Viorst who she knows.  My daughter gifted the book to me.  In this post - as I discuss nearly 50 years of marriage - this June - to my husband, I will feature small quotes pulled from the book.

    It destroys one's nerves to be amiable
    every day to the same human being.
    Benjamin Disraeli 

    I remember a time when my husband and I traveled to an anniversary party thrown by my family for my grand parents on their 50th wedding anniversary.  We were either engaged or newly married.  I could not imagine 50 years ... so far off - almost an impossible period of time.

    The Irritations
    I am only trying to help
    When I observe that every tie that you wear has been stained
    By food you have failed to transport to your mouth from your plate,
    And you're only trying to help when you tell me I've gained, 
    Along with a lifetime of wisdom, a bit too much weight.
    Judith Viorst

    When facing our own 50th anniversary in June, I marvel at how different we both are today from who we were in 1969.  Would we have been drawn to each other in 1969 if we were as we are today?  Probably not.  My husband and I are now as different as a circle is from a square.  But we established a home and a family ...  as well dealt with the joys, sorrows and struggles of life.  Most importantly we learned to also make room for each other to grow into the people we are today.  We made so much room for change that the people we are today are not natural pairing of like minds as you would expect in a long marriage.  But that may be the key to our success.  We allowed that difference to develop and we didn't use it as a reason to divorce - as many may have.

    In every marriage more than a week old, there
    are grounds for divorce.  The trick is to find,
    and continue to find, grounds for marriage.
    Robert Anderson

    The number of couples making it into retirement together (regardless of the years married) is probably pretty good based an informal sampling of my peer group (not scientific I know.)  But couples married in their 20s that are still married to the same person at the time of retirement - well, that number is smaller, I would guess. Finding a reason to divorce seems much more common than finding a reason to stay married for 50 years.

    The Consolations
    In a world here everyone's powering on and off,
    In a world where hacking doesn't refer to a cough,
    In a world where nothing on earth is too arcane
    For Google to instantaneously explain,
    And tattoos aren't only for thugs but for the elite,
    It's nice you're as twentieth-century,
    As stubbornly twentieth-century,
    As hopelessly twentieth-century as I am.
    Judith Viorst

    So although I didn't see this anniversary when I was younger (and I can recall a few other times when I wasn't sure we would make it), we did make it to that 50 year mark!  How did we do it?

    • First - We didn't try to change each other. Although we get in each other's way at times, our paths in life are not "our path" - it is more like "my path" and "his path" but parallel.  
    • Second - We believe in the traditional vow we took.  Nothing fancy or made up.   To love, honor and obey until death do us part (although the 'obey' part I have kind of fudged a bit.)  I believe the wording of this traditional vow is the hardest of all vows to keep - short and to the point - no gray areas or wiggle room.  
    • Finally, I guess we were just a bit lucky.

    Wait For Me
    So just in case there's a place where we go when we die,
    And just in case you should get there before I do,
    I don't, when it's my turn, want to spend eternity
    looking for you.
    So let's decide where we'll meet.  Let's decide
    Where you'll wait for me.
    Judith Viorst

    Will we make "until death do us part?"  Yes.  But the thought of being the one left behind knocks me  off center a bit.  You see, I married my husband right after my college graduation ... moved from my parents home into our new life - not one day spent as an independent adult.  All those years we shared the responsibilities of living.   But since his disability I have taken over all the responsibilities - from  bills to trash - and everything in between.  I can take care of myself if he dies first ... so that is not the problem.  But who is the person I will be if that happens?   Not someone's child and not someone's wife.   I will need to sort all that out if given the chance - independently, without anyone's help.   It may takes some time, but I'll land on my feet I am quite sure.

    I always have.

    We've been through "I told you it wasn't worth all that money."
    We've been through "For once in your life admit that you're wrong!"
    Most of the time, what's good overrides aggravation,
    And so far we've somehow escaped some really close calls,
    Suggesting we're in this together for a duration
    That could continue long after the curtain falls.
    Judith Viorst

    Where is love in this discussion?   Despite all the songs, love stories, poetry and movies ... love is not an easy emotion to define.  It's not uncommon to hear a divorcee admit to still have love for the former spouse.  They just couldn't live together.  As a younger person I would not understand that kind of relationship.  Now after 50 years and lots of growth - I do understand it.  In my heart I believe that there must be more than love for a successful marriage that has staying power well into retirement.  That is true for us - and I believe it is true for a lot of people.

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